Smash Ultimate tips: How to get better at the Nintendo Switch game

With the release of Super Smash Bros Ultimate in 2018, Nintendo have dragged millions of people into an online arms race of epic proportions. If you can endure the godawful matchmaking and online cheese that has caused so much grief for the player base, then there is a world of play for you to enjoy and conquer, and if you really want to be the best you can take it offline, to one of the many LAN competitions, and test yourself against the very best.

Of course, all of that assumes you have a decent level of experience with the previous titles, but that might not be the case. For those who are just getting into the series after years away from console, or Nintendo gaming, here are out five essential Smash Ultimate tips for gittin’ gud at the Nintendo Switch title, or Smush, as everyone hates to call it.

Ultimate tip 1: Get the right controller

Now, one of the great things about the Nintendo Switch is the fact you can play it on the go. From your car, from your bed, even while you’re on the throne, this is truly the console for the people who like to multi-task. However, if you want to become the world’s top Smash Ultimate pro, the Joy-Cons provided with the console itself will be of little use, and you need to invest in a more precise alternative.

If you’re new to the series, the Pro Controller will probably be your best option, as it mimics the design of the wildly popular Xbox controller and plugs right into your console. If this isn’t your first Smash rodeo, you will almost certainly have a Gamecube controller lying around, and should consider investing in an adapter to use that for Ultimate. While it has ergonomic uglies, the lack of extreme tech means that won’t be an issue as much in the new game, and it can also be used with titles such as Mario Kart to great effect.

Ultimate tip 2: Settle on a main (or two)

In previous versions of Smash Bros, we’d have put "settle on a main: here, but Ultimate is too much for just one character. It definitely makes sense to play the characters you enjoy at the start of your time, but with more than 70 different matchups to learn there is a great argument for having more than one ‘main’ just to cover the spread of styles you’ll fight. Changing when you lose is not great of course, but keep in mind the way characters interact, as well as how you played.

It’s also fair to say that the best way to learn how to beat a character is to play it, as you’ll get a great idea of the strengths and weaknesses. Be wary of tier-chasing too, as Nintendo were happy to nerf a number of the best characters in Smash 4, and have already reduced the ridiculous range of Inkling’s roller, for an example of the same happening in Smush.

Ultimate tip 3: Learn from the best

If it's Smash Ultimate tips you're after, simply look to the stars. It’s fair to say top players are more thirsty for your eyeballs than they ever have been in the history of the game. We’ve already seen Smash 4 GOAT Gonzalo ‘ZeRo’ Barrios prioritise his stream over competitive play, due to how well his stream has done, and the list goes on of top Smash 4 players who compete in Smush. You can get the views of Melee gods too, with Joseph ‘Mango’ Marquez, William ‘Leffen’ Hjelte and Adam ‘Armada’ Lindgren all heavily investing in Nintendo’s hot newness, so there is no excuse for ignorance.

In terms of tier lists, you might want to let things percolate until you’ve seen a few more events, but character guides are abundant and a great way to understand how a character works, and what might be good. Jason ‘Mew2King’ Zimmerman, the greatest player in the history of the franchise, recently released his Piranha Plant guide, which we’ve linked above, if you fancy playing the organic killer.

Ultimate tip 4: Play people better than you

It might seem tempting to lab everything out vs the CPU before you take it online, or even to a tournament, but until you start to face real people you're notgoing to be learning in the best way. Little things like tech choices and directional influence can force you into bad habits, just as an opponent can repeat options to condition you in tournament play, and stomping those less skilled will teach you nothing more than sloppiness.

Not everyone has people close to them who are going to provide that experience, and you will have to venture online to find that competition, but at least you have the option to do so, unlike players of previous games. However you get it though, make sure you practice with people, preferably at or above your level, if you want to know how to get better at Smash Ultimate.

Ultimate tip 5: Don't give up

Perhaps the most important of Smash Ultimate tips is to stick with it. There are going to be a lot of annoying losses and times you feel as though the game is dumb. Speaking as a Ness main, I can certainly attest to the frustration of outplaying your opponent for most of a stock, only to be gimped or just killed by bad luck, and your journeys online will bring you into contact with some pretty odd folk, who seem to enjoy making other people suffer for no real reason.

With penalties for leaving games now in place, you’re probably going to have to endure some of that even if you are lucky, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Once you’re good enough, the trolls and the kids will be nothing more than cannon fodder, waiting to be fed into your combo machine, and maybe immortalised in a combo video. The enduring appeal of the best games is that they get more fun as you improve and, so far, Ultimate looks like it has that in spades.

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